Thursday, 30 May, 2024
18November 1939

Dutch liner hits German mines and sinks

Today, Dutch liner Simon Bolivar struck two mine, 20 miles off Harwich on the coast of the United Kingdom.

The Simon Bolivar, under the command of Captain H. Voorspuiy, was on a voyage from Holland to Paramaribo, when she hit the mines, which had been laid by the German navy (Kriegsmarine).

The liner was carrying 400 passengers and crew. The explosion caused by the mines killed multiple people on the deck, including the captain, who was fatally wounded and died. The Simon Bolivar’s masts were knocked down and the ship began to sink by the front. The ship’s radio room was damaged by the explosion and an S.O.S. could not be sent out.

Fortunately, other vessels were still able to arrive quickly. About 15 minutes after the first explosion, there was a second explosion that badly damaged some of the remaining lifeboats. According to the ship’s officers, the vessel had struck two mines, one on each side of the ship.

The Simon Bolivar finally sank with the loss of 84 lives.

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